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Poster: cooperway4 Date: Jan 6, 2011 5:05pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

Every reference I could find by searching Brother From Another Planet Public Domain states that it was released to theaters without a valid copyright notice. Law at the time stated that the copyright notice must also contain the year in which the work was first published, and the name of the copyright owner, which may be the author, the legal owner of the work made for hire, or the person or entity to whom the copyright has been transferred. Since it was not a work for hire and since the author's name isn't own it, then the question remains whether John Sayles transferred copyright. If he did not, the restored versions made by Anarchist's Convention Films and UCLA Film and Television Archive are illegal.

And it has been believed since 1984 that this film is in the public domain and no one affiliated with the film has stated otherwise.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 6, 2011 7:42pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

Under the law a film is a work-for-hire. The copyright notice in original copies of the film was the name of the production company (Copyright 1984 A Train Films Inc.) The copyright reverted from that production company to John Sayles in 1991 and has since been transfered to Anarchists Convention Inc. Not hard to look up on the copyright office website.

Transfer 1
The brother from another planet;
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3475D700
Date of Recordation: 2001-10-26
Entire Copyright Document: V3475 D700 P1
Date of Execution: as of 1Jan91; date of cert.: 22Oct01
Title: The brother from another planet; motion picture.
Notes: Assignment.
Party 1: A Train films, Inc.
Party 2: John Sayles.

Names: Sayles, John
A Train films, Inc.


Transfer 2
The brother from another planet;
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3475D696
Date of Recordation: 2001-10-26
Entire Copyright Document: V3475 D696 P1
Date of Execution: as of 20Mar96; date of cert.: 22Oct01
Title: The brother from another planet; motion picture.
Notes: Assignment.
Party 1: John Sayles.
Party 2: Anarchists Convention, Inc.

Names: Sayles, John
Anarchists Convention, Inc.

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Poster: cooperway4 Date: Jan 7, 2011 2:46am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

Wait a minute. How again was it a work for hire if it was paid for by a grant from a non-profit?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 7, 2011 3:10am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

In the way that:

A "work made for hire" is— (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.
17 USC §101

Considering the film makers set up a corporation to "own" their contributions to the film, I think we can consider it meeting the requirements of the second condition.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 7, 2011 3:25am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

And here's a "recordation" of one of those agreements

The brother who fell to earth : a.k.a. Brother from another planet /...
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3475D695
Date of Recordation: 2001-10-26
Entire Copyright Document: V3475 D695 P1
Date of Execution: as of 25Aug83
Title: The brother who fell to earth : a.k.a. Brother from another planet / Screenplay.
Notes: Assignment.
Party 1: John Sayles.
Party 2: A Train Films, Inc.

Variant title: Brother from another planet
Names: Sayles, John
A Train Films, Inc.

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Poster: cooperway4 Date: Jan 7, 2011 3:45am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

The Brother who fell to earth;
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V2037P799
Date of Recordation: 1983-12-27
Entire Copyright Document: V2037P799-802
Date of Execution: 16Sep83; 15Dec83
Title: The Brother who fell to earth; motion picture.
Notes: Security agreenment (motion picture and copyright)
Party 1: A-Train Films.
Party 2: Screen Actors Guild, Inc.

so shouldn't it have said copyright Screen Actors Guild, Inc.?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 7, 2011 4:21am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

No, since that document records that the production company has placed its completion security bond with SAG, I don't think so. That is not a transfer of copyright, hence the "Security Agreement" bit and not the "Assignment" bit as on the other one.

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Poster: cooperway4 Date: Jan 7, 2011 3:47am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

I mean I really, really find it hard to believe that people have been claiming this movie is public domain for over 25 years because of an invalid copyright notice without much objection, seeing as how the creator has been actively involved with restorations of it, if that wasn't the case.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 7, 2011 4:00am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Please remove

I am really finding it hard to find evidence of widespread commercial use of this film without question. I can only find:

These VHS releases -
Key Video (1986, discontinued)
Fox Home Video (1990, discontinued)
UAV (1999, discontinued)

These DVD versions -
UAV (2001, Discontinued)
MGM Home Entertainment (2003, Authorised restoration. In print)
Guillotine Films (2003, Discontinued)
Digital 1 Stop (2004, Discontinued)
EastWest DVD (2007, Discontinued)

Amazon also has user uploaded "createspace" Made On Demand DVD-Rs available from "Synergy Entertainment" and "Artflix".

As most of these labels are still in business, one could easily assume that they had somehow learned of the copyright status of the film.